DEO rolls out paper version of unemployment applications as website struggles
Florida's unemployment woes are quickly causing desperation.

unemployed
Applications are now available on the DEO's website in English, Spanish and Creole.

The Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) is now offering a paper form Floridians can use to apply for unemployment benefits amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.

On Thursday, DEO Executive Director Ken Lawson said his agency was working on providing those paper applications as a surge in unemployment applications continues to strain the DEO website.

Now, the applications are available on the DEO’s website in English, Spanish and Creole.

To apply using the paper form, simply fill it out and mail it to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity at P.O. Box 5350, Tallahassee, FL 32314-5350.

Some lawmakers, such as Democratic Sen. Linda Stewart, said they will also make those forms available at their local offices.

“Our office has posted copies of the application at our door (1726 S. Bumby Ave.) in the event that applicants are not able to obtain or print an application from the state’s website,” a Saturday announcement from Stewart reads.

But residents will still be required to submit those applications to the DEO directly.

Floridians complained they’re encountering myriad problems with the DEO’s site as they try to apply for those benefits online. Lawson said residents being unable to change their pins has been a sore spot for the agency.

“Last week, I received 1.5 million calls. A third of the calls were for pin resets,” Lawson said Thursday.

“That’s one of the biggest problems I’m addressing immediately. This past Sunday, I signed a contract with a call center and we’re training that call center to handle pin resets. Also, I’m signing a contract this week with a company to create a mobile-friendly website so folks can use their iPhones and tablets to reset their pins and also eventually file an application. That will take a little time for the mobile site, but it will help alleviate the problem.”

Lawson apologized for the agency’s repeated struggles as Floridians continue to feel the effects of the economic slowdown caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“From my heart, I apologize for what you’re going through,” Lawson said.

“I do ask for patience. I know that patience is thin. But recognize that we are all in this together. And the 1,500 people who work for me at DEO are Floridians too who are hurting and afraid, but are committed to serving our fellow Floridians.”

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected]


3 comments

  • Flor-DUH

    April 4, 2020 at 5:21 pm

    This is total BS. It’s Rick Scott’s mess as he was so against ANYONE collecting unemployment. He didn’t want the website to be user friendly as people that get frustrated and just give up would keep his unemployment numbers low and he could tout that in his senate bid.
    Other states such as Ohio and Michigan are equally as ” overwhelmed ” but they are processing applications and paying claims.
    I have been trying to call the identity confirmation line for 14 CONSECUTIVE DAYS and cannot get through.If this any indication of how the state will handle things when the virus peaks you better start bring in the refrigeration trucks.

  • josh Anderson

    April 5, 2020 at 11:31 pm

    Linda Stewart said in an interview on Thursday (4/2/20) that she would have printed applications available available at her office. It was not until that Saturday when she was called out on social media for not following through that she made the printed applications available.

Comments are closed.


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